Peace Is a Dream

Peace Is a Dream

by Martin Wiley

Martin Wiley_Peace Is a Dream


Pete was thin,

just muscle, dark skin and anger,

stuffed inside an ancient Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast t-shirt,


and he lived on the far side of town, in the apartments

for people who cleaned the big houses where

people like me lived.  He led us through

shadows and into the park

—we would have followed him anywhere—

officially it was closed for the night, but that only meant

no one would notice we were there.


Harsh outlines from streetlamps, everything unfocused but

edges sharp—we headed for the swing-set, which had become,

for decades, the place for teenagers

out late.  It was cleaned regularly

but the weeds along the fence were

a breeding ground


for broken glass,

used condoms, tiny vials,

plastic baggies.  Then Pete nodded

to Danny, who pulled his flask

from his back pocket.


We drank while Pete rolled joints, the only sound

the creaking of those rusted swings.


On nights like these, when the air

teased the ability to become free and clear, when we

could spot the night sky if not

the stars, our future seemed fluid and visible, and we

could still dream

of connections

that mattered.

As a mixed-race child of the 80’s, Martin Wiley grew up both confronting and embracing a world that was as jumbled and confused as he was. His current work is an attempt to examine what it was to search for manhood in that time and place. A long-time poet and spoken word artist, for the past few years he had labeled himself a “recovering poet.”His children’s love of words has dragged him, mostly happily, off the wagon. After receiving his MFA from Rutgers-Camden, he remain in Philadelphia, working at Project HOME, being a dad and husband, and finding time, when possible, to write.